Calabar, STGC lock horns in must-win clash
Calabar High School head coach David Laylor says that he is banking on an all-out offensive assault to give his team a chance of second-round qualification when they face many-time champions St George’s College in the ISSA/Digicel Manning Cup football competition at Ashenheim Stadium at 3 p.m. today.
Both teams have entered must-win territory in a tight Group A which has seen both teams suffer back-to-back losses. St George’s were hammered 6-0 by reigning champions Jamaica College (JC) on Friday while Calabar slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Charlie Smith High School, leaving both teams outside of the top two qualification places with two games left to play in this shortened season.
Calabar have been shut out in their last two games after exploding in their 5-0 win over Bridgeport High on November 17. To that end, Laylor said that he has adjusted the personnel in his line-up.
“For me, I know I need to go out hard at George’s. Because of what took place (against JC), they don’t have much speed. So for me, I really just have to go at them hard,” Laylor told The Gleaner. “I’m not worried that they will be coming at me in that sense, because they have two games that they need to win [as well] if they want to go through.”
Calabar are in fifth place with four points, five points adrift of second-place Charlie Smith, who have one game remaining. St George’s are in a better position in fourth place with six points.
In balancing their aggressiveness, however, Laylor still wants his team to play the possession-based style that he says his team is capable of displaying despite their recent results.
“I really want to see good possession football, more than anything else,” he said. “As a coach, it is important to see them play and execute what they are supposed to do.”
Meanwhile still smarting from that loss, St George’s head coach Neville Bell said that the team will be ready to mount a response, with a continued belief of their chances of qualifying out of the group.
“We will get them ready again,” Bell said. “I mean, this is football. We have been good and we have been bad. [Friday,] I thought we were very bad. [But] we will accept it and we will move on.”
In the other Group A game, JC will face Kingston High in the early game of the Ashenheim double-header. Despite back-to-back wins for the reigning champions, JC head coach Davion Ferguson has cautioned against complacency.
“What is very important is that we look forward to [today] because at the end of the day, we are still in a very tight group,” Ferguson said.
JC are in third place with seven points, two away from leaders Kingston Technical High.
Kingston High v Jamaica College 12 p.m. Ashenheim Stadium
St George’s v Calabar High 3 p.m. Ashenheim Stadium
St Jago v Camperdown 3 p.m. Spanish Town Prison Oval
Wolmer’s v Mona 3 p.m. Stadium East